When you run into someone you know and you guys greet each other and politely ask “how are you?” what exactly are you inquiring about and in turn, what are they? Their life, sure there’s concern with how it’s been going since the last interaction so the question is plausible. Then you guys may play catch up and shoot the breeze for a bit but let me ask you this, how they’re doing mentally, was there any curiosity there when you posed the question? Do you think it was on theirs when they shot the same question your way? Now I’m not going to sit here and be hypocritical and act like it’s at the forefront of my mind whenever I, myself, pose that very question to others. Oftentimes, it’s meant in that moment as a polite, surface level question. However, the thing is, mental health is just as important as being your best physically.
It seems like the only time we gather ‘round the fire to talk about mental health is after something unfortunate goes down. If not; when it comes up it’s either on or nearing a day dedicated to it, something yoga-related, or it’s mentioned in the promotion of wellness brands. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “Mental health is critically important for everyone, everywhere, and goes beyond the mere absence of a mental health condition.” The organization went on to say “It is integral to well-being, enabling people to realize their full potential, show resilience amidst adversity, be productive across the various settings of daily life, form meaningful relationships and contribute to their communities.” Over the years, society’s taken the necessary topic of mental health and sprayed it with negative stigma. This stigma latched itself onto something that should be embraced as the repercussions for it going awry is dire. Something that controls people’s lives and which talking about should be done with ease. Onto something exuding familiarity as it is rampant in every corner of the world. Today, it is important to give mental health a stake of priority in your life as it directly affects decision making in general, especially how stress is handled daily and in our relationships with others. Now think about your life and check in with yourself and inquire about the state of your mind. If you’re interested in boosting and putting your mental health first then you might want to stick around.
It is a widely chanted thing that everyone is urged to “take care of your mental health”. Here are some tips to act as a guide in finding ways that your mental health won’t be mad at. Now according to WHO “Physical, psychological, social, cultural, spiritual and other interrelated factors contribute to mental health, and there are inseparable links between mental and physical health.” In taking this into consideration, here are a few things that can contribute to good mental health. First up:
Getting in touch with yourself is the only way you’ll know what’s up with you mentally. With some self reflection you’d know the type of person that triggers you and you’d get a gist at the situations and environments that also do. Knowing the state of your mind, the way it works and the things that cause you to dip helps a great deal when choosing to work on your mental health.
Journal, Google Doc it, write it on paper then ball it up and burn it – Just write
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine told me that he was about to take the first step in improving himself as he felt at the time that “he needed to do better”. Without hesitation I expressed that 100% I supported the movement. Candidly and quite excitedly he spoke about his gym schedule, protein and supplements, cheat days, his new diet and his weight and body type goal. About a month and a half later he sent photos showing a body update and impressively, he was on track. We spoke more about the gym and the journey since beginning. The new-him discussion all too soon came to an end when I asked him about journaling through the transformative period to which he replied “Journal, for what?” It is important to know that writing down the way you feel, documenting the day, or jotting down something that stood out during the day, good or bad, helps a great deal. Especially on the tough days.
Talk about it
Not the easiest thing to do but its effects are constantly raved about and urged. Whether it is to a therapist, a friendly listening ear (pets included) or simply writing it on paper then burning it, the order is still the same: get. it. out. The fact that as a society anything mental health related with the possibility of being discussed in an open manner is given the side eye. Isolating yourself is not recommended in fact, Healthspectra says “Not being vocal about mental health in a society is what makes people afraid of opening up, thus feeding to the [sic] stigma further.”
Switch up the diet
Fun fact: what we eat has been linked to our mood.
Improving the diet can affect a number of things including energy, aiding in thinking clearly and as previously stated, one’s mood. For instance, online publication Mind says that eating regularly, keeping hydrated, eating the right fats (oily fish, poultry, nuts especially walnuts and almonds, sunflower seeds, avocados, milk, yogurt, cheese and eggs), consuming enough protein and, if you’re into it, balancing caffeine are things encouraged to incorporate in your diet.
Very self explanatory if we’re keeping it 100.
Not only does it boost your mood but also has a hand to play in people’s confidence and self-esteem. When working out, with endorphins pumping through the bloodstream, moods are lifted instantly. There’s no denying it, the way we look affects how we feel about ourselves. Making sure you feel comfortable and pleased with your reflection is a struggle all by itself. However, when you’re not pleased with what stares back, it cues self-esteem issues, which has a direct effect on one’s mental health. To combat this, exercising regularly helps a great deal with feeling good and this is a contributing factor to good mental health.
Lastly, whether luxurious, on a budget or done at home, partaking in gentle practices that show appreciation and love to oneself is highly encouraged. With the curve balls life often throws your way, sometimes you need to take a step back, pause and reset. As, let’s face it, Mental Health is no joke, one bad day could offset the course of your life forever.